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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, April 30, 2021

 
Ilya Ivashka

Qualifier Ilya Ivashka scored his first career Top 10 win in style, surprising top-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3 to surge into the Munich semifinals.

Photo credit: @BMWOpen2021

Some players shrink at the sight of the top seed in their section of the draw.

Ilya Ivashka continues to bring his best against tournament champions.

More: Federer Gearing Up for Clay

The 107th-ranked Belarusian qualifier scored his first career Top 10 win today in style. Ivashka broke twice in the final set toppling top-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3 to surge into the Munich BMW Open semifinals.




Zverev had won 13 of his last 15 matches on Munich's red clay, but that didn't matter much to Ivashka, who won nine of the last 12 games to earn his bigges ATP victory.

"This match was really tough for me and I was [nearly beaten] in the second set,” Ivashka said. “I managed well and I tried stay in and fight until the last moment to see if he would give [me] chances and it happened.”

It is Ivashka's second career semifinal—he played through qualifying to reach the final four at the 2018 Marseille—and it comes a week after the 27-year-old from Minsk played through qualifying in Barcelona and took the first set off Rafael Nadal before bowing to the 13-time Roland Garros champion, 6-4 in the third set.

Two-time Munich champion Zverev betrayed his own cause committing 14 double faults and sometimes drifting into passive positions behind the baseline.

Still, Zverev broke for a 5-4 second-set lead and served for the semifinals. Ivashka answered breaking right back to spark a four-game run that saw him snatch the second set and go up 1-0 in the decider.




The big-hitting Ivashka broke for 3-1 then backed up the break for a 4-1 lead in the final set. Serving for his first career Top 10 win, the Belarusian showed no nerve closing at love.

Ivashka will face another German, Jan-Lennard Struff, in Saturday's semifinal match of men playing for their maiden ATP final.

In today's first quarterfinal, a tough Struff battled back from a break down twice in the final set then amped up the aggression in the tie breaker edging 
Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(3) in a thriller.

Stuff fired 15 aces and saved eight of 13 break points in a three-hour marathon match. The 31-year-old German is through to his second Munich semifinal seven years after falling to Fabio Fognini in the final four.


“It was a very, very hard match,” Struff said. “I expected a very tough match and a hard fight…

"In the end, I am very happy that I could reach my second semifinal in Munich.”

 

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